The SEC reports that the popularity of and investments in money market funds has grown significantly and they currently hold about US$3 trillion in assets. They have become one of the core pillars of the present-day capital markets as they offer investors a diversified, professionally managed portfolio with high daily liquidity. Many investors use money market funds as a place to "park their cash" until they decide on other investments, or for funding needs that may arise in the short term.
If you want to physically walk into a bank and talk to a banker about your money market account, choose a bank that has brick-and-mortar locations. If this doesn’t matter to you – and earning a high APY is more important – then an online bank will probably be the best way for you to earn more interest. An online bank may offer convenient customer service options through its phone availability, and it may have secure messaging on its website or mobile app. It may also allow live chatting with a customer service representative.
In response, on Friday, September 19, 2008, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced an optional program to "insure the holdings of any publicly offered eligible money market mutual fund—both retail and institutional—that pays a fee to participate in the program". The insurance guaranteed that if a covered fund had broken the buck, it would have been restored to $1 NAV. The program was similar to the FDIC, in that it insured deposit-like holdings and sought to prevent runs on the bank. The guarantee was backed by assets of the Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund, up to a maximum of $50 billion. This program only covered assets invested in funds before September 19, 2008, and those who sold equities, for example, during the subsequent market crash and parked their assets in money funds, were at risk. The program immediately stabilized the system and stanched the outflows, but drew criticism from banking organizations, including the Independent Community Bankers of America and American Bankers Association, who expected funds to drain out of bank deposits and into newly insured money funds, as these latter would combine higher yields with insurance. The guarantee program ended on September 18, 2009, with no losses and generated $1.2 billion in revenue from the participation fees.
In the wake of the crisis two solutions have been proposed. One, repeatedly supported over the long term by the GAO and others is to consolidate the U.S. financial industry regulators. A step along this line has been the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to address systemic risk issues that have in the past, as amply illustrated by the money market fund crisis above, fallen neatly between the cracks of the standing isolated financial regulators. Proposals to merge the SEC and CFTC have also been made.
A money market account is a worthwhile investment if you value, generally, quick access to your account, a predictable APY and a federally insured account. There are other investments that may have higher rates of return, but they may also have potential risk of principal. So, a money market account may be a worthwhile investment for funds you can’t afford to risk. A high-rate money market account may be the perfect place for money that you intend to grow but may be needed in the near future.
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Under the provisions, a money fund mainly invests in the top-rated debt instruments, and they should have a maturity period under 13 months. The money market fund portfolio is required to maintain a weighted average maturity (WAM) period of 60 days or less. This WAM requirement means that the average maturity period of all the invested instruments taken in proportion to their weights in the fund portfolio should not be more than 60 days. This maturity limitation is done to ensure that only highly liquid instruments qualify for investments, and the investor’s money is not locked-in long maturity instruments that can mar the liquidity.
Bankrate regularly surveys approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions in all 50 states to provide you with one of the most comprehensive comparisons of rates. All of the money market accounts below, which are savings accounts that may let you write a limited amount of checks per month, are insured by the FDIC at banks or the NCUA at credit unions. When selecting the best money market account for you, look for the highest yield while also considering introductory rates, minimum balances and accessibility.
On the borrowing end, after 10–20 years, the S&P 500 corporations become extremely accustomed to obtaining funds via these money markets, which are very stable. Initially, perhaps they only borrowed in these markets for a highly seasonal cash needs, being a net borrower for only say 90 days per year. They would borrow here as they experienced their deepest cash needs over an operating cycle to temporarily finance short-term build ups in inventory and receivables. Or, they moved to this funding market from a former bank revolving line of credit, that was guaranteed to be available to them as they needed it, but had to be cleaned up to a zero balance for at least 60 days out of the year. In these situations the corporations had sufficient other equity and debt financing for all of their regular capital needs. They were however dependent on these sources to be available to them, as needed, on an immediate daily basis.